The New York City Ballet’s three act offering at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this week delivers pretty much everything you could want from a ballet. Under the guidance of Ballet Master-in-Chief Peter Martins, precise and skilled dancers dazzle with clean, powerful movement in a buffet of ballet bites.
Act One consists of three vignettes, bursting forth with Ash, a pure dance piece with music by Michael Torke, conducted by Andrew Litton for The Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. Ten dancers, sleekly costumed by Steven Rubin, display the symmetry and physicality of demanding dance movement. Next follows moving pas de deux, After the Rain. Tiler Peck and Jared Angle intertwine tenderly in a dance that portrays the loving intimacy of a familiar couple, rather than the more traditional first-meeting dance. Costuming by Holly Hynes highlights the couple’s sinuous movements. The Infernal Machinecloses out Act I darkly, Ashley Laracey and Amar Ramasar athletically contorting like mechanical bugs, accompanied by Christopher Rouse’s fascinating score and Gary Lisz’s serpentine costuming.
Act Two is a classic: Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, Balanchine’s tribute to Imperial Russia. Eight lords a leaping, twelve ladies dancing, prima donnas pirouette in floating skirts, muscled male dancers hit the leaps in white tights. It’s traditional ballet presented in its most polished form, with virtuoso solos, high lifts, intricate chorine waves, and sparkly tiaras.
Act Three is The Most Incredible Thing, a fairytale dance based on the story by Hans Christian Anderson, set to a contemporary score by guitarist/composer Bryce Dessner (a member of the indie rock band the National). With extraordinary costumes and ever-growing troupes of dancers, it is a feast for the eyes. Even if you aren’t an aficionado of dance, you’ll be swept away by the magical imagery, costumes, and movement.
New York City Ballet Program A plays again 3/4/16 at 7 pm at The Kennedy Center’s Opera House (2700 F Street, Northwest, Washington, DC). Running time: Three hours, with two 20-minute intermissions. For tickets, call the box office at (202) 467-4600, or (800) 444-1324, or purchase them here.
Photo credit: Paul Kolnik